催生 – baby-mania

I cannot speak for every Asian family, but I can talk about my husband’s crazy family.

img-20130725-wa0000As a married girl I’m judged not only by my ability to take care of the house, in-laws and husband, but mostly I’m seen as someone whose destiny is to become a mother. In Sing’s family there is something I would call a ‘birthing standard‘ because I really don’t know how else I should describe it. For female you should at least have a long term fiance by the age of 25 (lucky for guys, there is no limit for them, they are the preservative to keep females young by marrying them). Checked. After a year of being married I should AT LEAST be pregnant. Of course with a boy, so the nutritious water won’t go to someone else’s farm.

This July it will be our second wedding anniversary and I’m not even close to call myself ‘mommy-to-be’. It’s not that I don’t like children and I don’t want to have them, it’s just at this point of my life I can play with them as an auntie, I can take care of them, but once they burst out crying – I’m leaving. That works like a birth control, because whenever our friend’s child is crying later that evening I’m like ‘Go away you sperm-bomb, today we cuddle tomorrow I’m pregnant‘. I just want to live my youth, accomplish things I wished to try, make our life more stable, besides Sing and I want to catch up with the time we’ve been in long distance relationship and we couldn’t just simply go on a date. If I get pregnant then OK, it won’t be a disaster, but neither of us thinks it would be a good idea to have a baby right now.

But it wouldn’t be so easy, would it? In our love triangle (me-Sing-Momzilla) there is one person who really, really, REALLY wants a new person in the family. Since you know it’s not me, neither Sing you can expect who is craving for a grandchild. Why am I even writing about it? Because few days ago she reached the age of 58 and went on full ‘future-grandma’ mode. She wants a grandchild so badly it leads to many weird, creepy or funny situations I want to introduce to you.

  • Auction. One baby, who gives more? Momzilla gives two babies. Will there be more? I see 3 babies in the back. Some people go to art auctions and use money. Momzilla has an auction, but instead of money she uses babies. Can you imagine I bargain with my mother-in-law about amount of children? You can only imagine how we show on our fingers the possible result, but it wasn’t that funny when she wished I gave a birth to 3 children… at once. So I don’t need to suffer that much. Well, if they have my hubby’s head size if one of them can make the way out the rest will just slide out. Add my big nose and huge feet and I will need a surgery.
  • YouTube videos. Remember when I was worried I will have nothing to talk about with her? I thought the problem will be solved when I introduced her to YouTube, write her down phrases to look for like ‘babies and cats’ or ‘funny babies’, but it actually created a monster. Grandmomster, I would say. She can watch those videos for almost 11 hours. Recently she found out a channel of Filipino-American couple and their daily life with a baby. From time to time she calls me to the room and shows the gesture of how she would pull the baby’s cheeks.
    According to morphthing.com this is how our baby would look like
    According to morphthing.com this is how our baby would look like
  • Creeper in the shopping mall. Or pretty much everywhere else. Momzilla has some special baby preferences, according to her Asian babies are not cute. Of course besides Sing, he is the most adorable child ever made. She likes the blondest babies. Is that even a word, the blondest? Anyway more blond the child is, more chances she will just suddenly stand and stare at it. I had to take her from IKEA’s children section because I was afraid someone will call security.
  • Expiration. In our family perfect age to give a birth is considered as 25, I’m ‘already’ 23, so sometimes I hear ‘expire’. Of course since I’m the person who will be pregnant she cannot say it about me – she says things like Sing is getting old (this year he will be 28), but I think in her heart she thinks like that about herself. Even if I give a birth at ‘the perfect age’ she will be 60. Less time with a grandchild, less strength to play and take care of. So everyday besides constant hearing a baby’s laugh out of her tab I see how she shows pregnant belly with her hand and says ‘Lina, BB’. Not like it gives me pressure or anything…
  • Pre-post-pregnancy surveying. As doing all of the above wasn’t too much recently during every meal she asks Sing to ask me how women in Poland take care of themselves before and after pregnancy, do we have a month to recover like in Asia, do we eat any special food, was my mom OK after giving a birth to me, who takes care of the child, doesn’t it damage the mother if she does things by herself, do you take a bath in Poland after you give a birth… and there’s like a billion more of that kind of questions. If you want you can share your experience with pre/post pregnancy period in the comment section! 🙂
  • Happy daughter-in-law is pregnant daughter-in-law. In my previous post I wrote that I’m getting along with Momzilla. It was even suspicious to me why she lets me win in the cards. Not only win, she will even make Sing lose just to see satisfied look on my face. She complains less, she doesn’t mind me eating Quadratini. I can even stay in my PJs until the very late afternoon and nothing will be reported as a complaint. And then I found out why – she knows that the only person who can give her a grandchild is me. I mean technically Sing has a sister, but let’s face it – she’s an elder Shanghainese lady, of course son is her #1, he will continue the family’s line and nutritious water will stay in our farm. I really love that phrase. So in order to hear ‘Na is pregnant’ she sacrifices herself. I’m not even mad, I’m impressed.
  • You give me a grandchild, I give you anything you need. Besides having an auction she recently tries to bribe me into having a baby. After countless arguments I why having a child in this moment wouldn’t be a great idea, I tried to be the most reasonable and asked my husband to translate ‘Mom, our life is not stable, we’re on a visa, we rent out a tiny flat in the house. It is not a good environment for a baby to grow up’. Cannot argue with such a good argument, can you? Oh yes you can, if you are a Momzilla. Since that day video-free time she spends on looking for houses in San Francisco, in Chinatown she collects those real estate magazines and browse the Internet. I guess my ‘I want to give a birth when we go back to Hong Kong’ somehow didn’t reach her ears…
  • BB, MiMi. I don’t know if it’s her grandma-instinct or she just doesn’t know how to handle or carry a cat, but recently she made friends with a Traitor, a.k.a. Biscuit. Traitor noticed that Momzilla doesn’t recognize when the kitty is hungry so any kind of meow is an occasion to get fed. In return Momzilla pets her and sometimes try to walk around with her in the arms, but she ends up holding Biscuit like it was a baby, moves her shoulders like you put a newborn to sleep. It’s cute, hilarious and little bit creepy at the same time. Especially if you could see Biscuit’s face.

My conclusion? Who has uterus has the power, even over Momzilla. hunxuebaobao8Now I only need to figure it out how should I have blond, green-eyed triplets, not like my husband’s dark hair and dark eyes made it already difficult. But jokes-aside. I think despite all of the pressure she gives me, she will be a great grandma. I’ve seen her with our landlord’s baby and I’ve seen by her actions she has a lot of love she would like to give to someone. But, at least for now, she has to show it to us and Biscuit.

Has any member of your family ever give you a pressure to have a child? How did you or how would you react in that kind of situation? Share your experience and opinions. Hopefully it will help not only me but also other people to handle it 🙂
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32 thoughts on “催生 – baby-mania

  1. Hahahaha. This is really in-depth.
    I always love reading your posts!

    Ryosuke’s dad asked me recently if I was pregnant yet. I was just like “Ummmm, no. And I’m the same age as your (youngest, unmarried) daughter. Could you imagine her having a kid?”
    We’ve reached an (awkward) agreement that after our five year anniversary, we will start thinking about popping out babies.
    It’s so helpful that both of Ryosuke’s older siblings are already married and have kids. He already has four grandkids (and counting) – so it’s not like we’re his “last hope” or anything.

    I hope the rest of your visit with Momzilla goes well, though!

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    1. maybe your FIL hoped that if you have a baby no one will ‘help’ him in the gardening? 😀 just joking! 🙂 at least you have an agreement, that’s really a huge step 🙂 so I guess 4.5 years from now on, when you’re famous with your book/comic I will be able to read ‘Ryosuke and I are pregnant. I mean I am, but he contributed as well’ 😀 🙂

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  2. Oh my! I don’t know how you do it. When my in-laws moved in with us, I already had a baby, and you know how that went. I can’t imagine if they were there and pressuring me to get pregnant. You are so smart to want to wait. You’re only 23! Most women in the US don’t even get married until they’re in their 30s. My two Hong Kong roommates from many years ago are both my age and they don’t have kids. One is just getting married for the first time this autumn and the other married 20 years ago, but they decided they didn’t want kids. I think that’s quite common in Hong Kong. I would just keep humoring her!

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  3. Unfortunately, this is a very real situation across East and Southeast Asia. People no longer get married as a declaration of love. Most couples move in together once they confirmed their boyfriend-girlfriend status (as long as they are not living with the parents). There is no need to get married to live like a married couple. So when a couple makes the big announcement, the only reason most parents can think of would be: “YES! THEY ARE PLANNING TO HAVE A BABY!”. I can imagine the disappointment of Momzilla after she waited for 2 years 😀
    And, [Who has uterus has the power, even over Momzilla] is true…… until after you give birth. After that normal service will be resumed. Momzilla will fight with you over the custody of the child. You merely being there will be deemed a nuisance in her efforts to raise the child “properly”. That’s what I see going on with all my friends who have babies.

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    1. I guess I should stick to my power as long as I can haha 🙂 I even recently started to tell her things like ‘It would be fun to play with a grandchild’ then point to Sing and let him deal with that – all the pain from staying in Momzilla is avenged with one sentence haha 😉

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  4. It’s not a race, parents are from a different generation where medical science primitive and late pregnancy can be complicated. That being said, my mother had me when she was 36, very late in her day and age so she doesn’t give me any pressure at all. Mother in law though already has baby clothes ready and showed it to is haha. But they respect our decision as to when we’ll have a baby. The only thing is my wife doesn’t like kids and doesn’t really want one, so I’ll have to convince her about that OR have a happy accident 😉 jk

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  5. Oh wow, she has a hard case of baby fever, doesn’t she!! 😮 I have to say I admire her resilience and persistence but it must be taking a toll on you! You and Sing are both still young and have plenty of time… Have you tried the argument: “We’re waiting due to (previously listed, logical and sensible factors), so please do your best to stay healthy and live a long life so you can enjoy playing with the baby when it comes”? Maybe it will put more focus on herself and her own health? (Or is that wishful thinking? 😀 )

    Re the size of the head of the baby/your husband. I had a horrible flash of future terror when you said that… My fiancé’s head is by all account rather large (mostly he says this, I don’t care so much), so much so that he wants to stand behind me in couples’ pictures. >_> Both funny and annoying, but I never thought about how that head would translate into our offspring… Hmm, maybe time to start looking into caesarians… 😮

    This was hilarious btw, I really enjoyed it. (I’m totally laughing with you, not at you… 😉 )

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  6. I just finished a fantastic novel by Lisa See called Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. It covers the lifespan of the main female character (through her perspective at the age of 80) from childhood to old age, and the trials and tribulations that she faced as a female during the mid 1800s up until her death in the early 1900s.
    I can definitely see many similarities between your in-laws perspectives/behaviours and the Chinese way of life back then as told through the novel.
    You should consider giving it a read through! Might be interesting for you 🙂

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  7. hahah oh wow that sounds scary. The cat thing especially. My in-laws are cool though, we just had to get baby #1 on the way before six months of marriage were elapsed. Mission success!

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  8. Aw, what a cute baby the software program says you have! Although not the blonde, Aryan type that Sing’s mother wants…. hmmmm, the views that Chinese people sometimes come out with, makes me think they would make better Nazis than the Nazis

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    1. she really makes me laugh, her English does not exist but she knows how to say ‘Chinese babies no beautiful’ yet she also knows how to say ‘Sing handsome’ – the only beautiful child haha 🙂 I don’t know why she has that kind of preferences, I think she watched ‘Baby’s day off’ too many times. Have you seen it? Since she’s here we’ve seen it like 5 times … T_T but it also says why she likes my mom so much – blond hair and blue eyes haha 🙂

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  9. I know how you feel. Especially the “expectations” MIL had the past years about the baby. About two years into our relationship MIL started talking how great it would be to have grandchildren finaly and how she would be the best grandmother in the world (yeah right, my wife doesnt trust her mother a single minute alone with our kid).
    It was a hard time when she was over for three months when our son was born as she really tried everything to make her daughter do zuo yuezi. Everytime my wife asked how Europeans can actually still exist without the resting month MIL always replied “Because Chinese are different, we are weaker! Without zuo yuezi you will have pains forever and be always sick”. Well, thus far my wife is doing better than her Chinese friends who also gave birth recently. Most of them really suffered alot during the resting month but believe it was worth it to secure a healthy and lucky future…
    My own parents were totally different on the other hand. Sure my dad was expecting a grandchild but that was because my lazy brother still hasnt come around to create an offspring in his 47 years. They were actually surprised that we would have a child so early (both of us were 26 back then).
    MIL always stares at other children, really stares and them and wants to touch them. This created some troubles as we practically had to drag her away from playgrounds or nursing rooms. Besides she also carries our bunnies like a baby but now she finally got her grandson whom she tries to take to China. She is really serious about this, she wants to have our son for a few years because we can have just another child so we won’t miss him ó.Ò When we refused she started crying how selfish we are and so on, well, Crazy Mother indeed.
    Ah, we also have this kind of morphing picture. We did it for fun when we just started dating. Have to see if our kiddo really looks like the morphing face in a couple of years 🙂

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    1. I’m so shocked that I don’t know what to say… Wow… I guess I should give the title of Momzilla to your MIL, mine is annoying but quite harmless, your pretty much suits the CRAZY Chinese family part 😀

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      1. I told my wife already we should better watch out when we visit China next time that our kid is acutally still with us when we go through passport control, not that we see MIL running away with him somwhere in the background

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  10. yea, this Asian thing about pressure hahaha…it’s ongoing in every aspect of life. Tiger moms and all you know? I’m 30+ and still not married, but I’m okay with it! Given a bad run of bad guys, I’d say this is pretty good right? Nope! Get extra pressure to get a boyfriend and get married ASAP! I can’t even imagine what it’ll be like if I do get married – they probably would love a honeymoon baby. At least your parents haven’t talked to you about freezing your eggs like mine have! Still, as much as they annoy the hell out of us, we still love them deep down 🙂

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  11. When I was a college student, my host mother in China tried to convince me I should bring my boyfriend over, settle in the apartment above her and start having as many kids as possible, since I was an American and could. Obviously, since my mother had eight, successfully. As a 19 year old, that really scared me! She was really sweet though and I’m sure would have really helped if I’d accepted.

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  12. You’re still very young. You have plenty of time. Sorry. I don’t have any stories of anyone pressuring me. I got pregnant at age 24, only a few months after marriage, second child a year later, third child after another year and a half.

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  13. It’s good that you’re taking it with humour… I become aggressive when someone talks to me about babies hahaha. And Chinese have this awful tradition of pressing people to have babies… I think the best reply is what one of your commenters wrote: If you want a baby so badly then have it yourself haha.

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  14. Things are more complex when you live with your mother-in-law who wants a grandchild.

    Frankly, I find it nearly appalling that women in my generation, meaning your mother-in-law is nearly the same age as I (I’m 55), demands a grand-child. This is the 21st century.

    I chose not to have children. It wasn’t a hard decision since I’m the eldest of 6. To deal with my mother’s constant pressuring remarks, I ended up with a guy coincidentally who is not only Caucasian but he is divorces with 2 now adult children. He shared joint custody arrangements with his ex-wife when the children were young.

    So seriously, every grandparent should want their children to first of all remain happily married –regardless of whether or not there’s children.

    I wonder if your mother-in-law knows any women her age who are divorced with children or step-children. It’s a painful, complex situation –at least for awhile.

    I am a proud aunt of 7 nieces and nephews from 3 sisters . The oldest is 27 yrs. and youngest is 4 yrs. old. So that keeps my parents satisfied and no more complaints about me. The 4 half-Chinese children have dark brown hair with abit of waviness or lighter brown hair. One niece has green-brown eyes. Don’t get carried away by having a baby just to see an end result. My partner and I joke about it because he has big blue eyes.

    You will be responsible…for another life for minimum of next 20 years or more. And not thanked often/appreciated enough for your daily efforts as a parent. I think the latter is the hardest part of becoming a parent.

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  15. Jeez, Someone is bitter.

    Yeah don’t be influenced by your MIL. This is you and your husband’s decision. I really admire your sense of humor in this situation,. I will pray for you…

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  16. Lol, we feel your pain…after nearly three years married (!!! SHOCK HORROR !!!) and everyone during our time in Asia assuming quietly there must be something wrong with us we have finally produced…now there’s a whole new raft of other things we’re not doing right, haha. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. Good luck!

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  17. “My conclusion? Who has uterus has the power, even over Momzilla” <– that made my day B-)
    I liked how u could always present ur marriage life in a funny and light hearted way as I could imagine even a marriage within the same culture could've brought about many issues.

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  18. I’m 27 and have been married for 7 years and my mother a d grandmother have not stopped questioning me about babies for pretty much all that time! Recently they have got a lot worse in trying to persuade me even though they know we are happy with our lives and enjoy travelling and don’t want to start having children yet. I don’t think mothers will ever stop trying to persuade us to have children though! Unfortunately it seems that we just have to put up with it no matter how many crazy ideas they come up with to try to persuade us!

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  19. Hi, I wandered to your blog from Roy’s blog. Hope you don’t mind. It’s interesting to read. I’m Singaporean Chinese.

    THe baby thing doesn’t go away – after you have one, she will ask when the second will come. Haha.

    And regarding the blond preference – rather she think “blond babies are the cutest” than “only asian babies look good” right? hee.

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